Monday, April 6, 2015

the Sham Pistols

In the straggly yet-another-single-off-the-album afterbirth of The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle's release, excitement briefly convulsed the abandoned flock of punk rock in the summer of 1979 when it was announced that Jimmy Pursey was to join the Sex Pistols as their new front man. 

This was big news, naturally, and I seem to remember it being the cover story of at least one music paper (probably Sounds) and prominently featured in the other ones too.

The Sham Pistols, as the outfit would be known but only retroactively, was more than Pursey-meets-Pistols. It was a chimera-style merger of half of Sham 69 ( singer + bassist Dave Treganna) with the rump of Sex Pistols - Steve Jones and Paul Cook, who in very short order would go it alone as The Professionals. 

For the merger would be short-lived. 

Aesthetic differences led to friction and then combustion, with the ex-Pistols walking out of a recording session.

I seem to remember reading in one of the reports that ensued, Jones commenting disparagingly about Pursey's lyrics, which were - I think - too East End working-class sentimental and British-y for Jones's liking.  He and Cook seemed particularly revulsed and derisive about a line about "dog tag generation" or words to that effect. Which I took to mean something to do with the Second World War, the Blitz, Vera Lynn, etc.

Jones sneered "it's worse than working with Rotten", while Pursey for his part retorted "it was absurd, the difference between us... I knew it could never work out".

Soon after Pursey reformed Sham, who had split earlier in '79; Jones & Cook formed The Professionals.

In Rotten's new biography he writes about Richard Branson's attempts to get him to reunite with Jones and Cook, playing them Professionals recordings, saying "isn't this great, Johnny? What do you think?"

Well, it's got the guitar sound... 

To round off the annals of post-Pistols iniquity, Cook and Jones also joined with another rock'n'roll bad boy, Phil Lynnott, to form the just-for-fun outfit The Greedy Basstards, who if memory serves had a smallish Xmas hit with this punked up seasonal spoof.

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